Ah, we’re so happy you asked, as it is a bit confusing. Natural is a blanket term that means the product in question has naturally derived ingredients in the formula. Organic means that some of the ingredients were grown without the use of any chemicals or pesticides.
Here’s where it gets even trickier: A product can have organic ingredients and still not be fully certified organic. Also, a natural product isn’t automatically organic. (We know, it’s enough to make your head spin.)
TL;DR: Until there’s better legislation and safety standards set in place for screening cosmetics and personal care products, the fastest way to see if a product is up to the highest organic standards is to look for the USDA-certified organic label (which means at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic) or the COSMOS Ecocert seal (which means at least 95 percent of the ingredients within the formula are organic).
AT A MINIMUM, WHAT ARE SOME INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN MY HAIR CARE PRODUCTS?
Some of the biggest offenders to look out for are phthalates, parabens, cyclosiloxanes, coal tar (which is often used in dandruff shampoos), ethanolamine (found in styling products) and fragrance, all of which are associated with health concerns ranging in scope from skin irritationto possible endocrine disruption.
IS USING NONORGANIC PRODUCTS GOING TO IMPACT MY HAIR NEGATIVELY?
Actually, it’s less about the hair itself and more to do with your scalp, which is said to be nearly four times more absorbent than the skin on your forearms. If you’re worried about having too much exposure to chemicals, then swapping out your hair care products (particularly the ones that sit on your hair longer, like a leave-in conditioner or treatment) is a good place to start.
With that, let’s talk about some of our favorite natural and organic hair products.